This class explores the vast topic of color. Gain an understanding of how to mix color via color charts and studies, how light sources affect the colors of the subject, and how to correctly observe and accurately reproduce the colors of the reference. Learn how to mix the clean color needed to create well-executed paintings. Each assignment focuses on a different topic related to color and light. Assignments 1-5 have a special focus on how to mix colors, while assignments 6-9 have a special focus on observing light and color. Complete the suggested exercises to gain knowledge that will aid in completing later assignments.



  • An understanding of the fundamental ideas of color mixing.
  • The ability to identify the value of a given color. 
  • You must exactly match the colors/values in a series of small squares. 
  • A complete set of color charts, one body and one stain chart for each color to be used on the palette in later classes.

Introduction to CPC102


for CPC102

Click on an assignment page to progress through the lecture and demonstration videos, and, following the guidelines, complete the assignment.

Assignment 1
Color Charts

Create a series of color charts that each represent one color as the majority color of each mixture, with each column representing a mixture of the majority color with a different color, and with 5 rows of value steps from the mixture to an off-white version of the mixture.

Assignment 2
The Color Wheel

Using the reference supplied, mix the squares to precisely the same colors. There should be no deviation from the reference in value, family, or chroma.

Assignment 3
Brightness vs. Lightness: more color or higher value?

Find a master painting, and desaturate the colors using a computer. Use this as your reference and complete a quick painting. Then, work from the original color-corrected (more chromatic) master painting, and modify the colors on your quick painting to create the same luminosity, without “chalky” or “washed-out” colors.

Assignment 4
Broken Color vs. Blended Color

Using a Monet painting as a reference, mimic the broken color paint application and retain saturation. Inappropriate blending will result in excessively neutral tones.

Assignment 5
Modifying Color with Glazes

Glaze a small painting of a closed grisaille sphere that has been allowed to completely dry. Learn how to neutralize chromatic pigments with the addition of more glaze colors. Also learn how to utilize less chromatic colors more purely to achieve maximum saturation. Experiment to achieve a variety of colors.

Assignment 6
Color Constancy

Utilize isolation techniques to avoid altering colors to their local state, and do an exercise to do the same. Paint a white paper towel roll in context to its surroundings, using a variety of different lighting conditions.

Assignment 7
Gamuts and Light Sources

Set up a still life with a specific lighting condition. Looking at the color wheel and all available colors, create a limited palette representing the gamut of the scene by selecting a yellow/red/blue that can produce all observed colors.

Assignment 8
Warm and Cool

The most “theoretical” and rule-based lecture, this topic explores the idea of warm light/cool shadow and cool light/warm shadow situations. 

Assignment 9
Color Sketches

Use your knowledge gained in CPC102 to execute quick, impulsive, and chromatic color studies.